September Insider Blog
From the golden hues of aspen leaves to the brilliant colors of hot air balloons aloft in turquoise skies, fall is a glorious time to visit Santa Fe County. The sun-drenched days are warm and inviting while the evening temperatures dip down into sweater weather. It's the perfect time of year to hike the backcountry of historic mining towns along the Turquoise Trail and shop unique boutiques, antique stores, galleries and other one-of-a-kind shops. Celebrate all things autumnal at the annual Harvest Festival, hosted by the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas and when you've worked up a hearty appetite, feast on delectable fall flavors at the Chef's Garden Table at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.
Balloon Fiesta Season
Hot air balloons of every shape and size take to the skies of New Mexico during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held October 6-14. This is the world's largest balloon event and also the most photographed event, drawing thousands of balloon enthusiasts from around the world. It's an easy, one-hour drive from Santa Fe to the Balloon Fiesta Park for the thrilling Dawn Patrols, Mass Ascensions and Evening Glows. Watching this magical event may inspire you to take a hot air balloon ride yourself, and you'll find several outfitters offering the opportunity to enjoy one of the most romantic experiences in New Mexico.
Along the Historic Turquoise Trail
Explore the majestic mountain country and Wild West history of the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, a winding, 62-mile day trip south of Santa Fe. You'll visit Cerrillos and Madrid, historic mining towns where saloons, vaudeville theater and opera houses once provided entertainment to gunslingers, outlaws and miners. Today, you'll find unique boutiques, galleries, and more, housed in rustic buildings and offering everything from art and sculptures to designer clothing, turquoise jewelry, home décor and more.
Discover the area's rich mining history on interpretive trails at Cerrillos Hills State Park, where the hills are all that remain of volcanoes formed some 30 million years ago. You'll walk past old mines that are now closed and see breathtaking views of the Galisteo Basin. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including foxes, coyotes and mule deer, as well as golden eagles, great horned owls and some 30 other bird species.
Celebrating the Harvest
Help bring in the harvest at El Rancho de las Golondrinas' Harvest Festival, held Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7. Ranked by readers of USA Today as one of the top fall harvest festivals in the country, this event gives you the chance to stomp grapes to make wine and crank a traditional apple press to make cider. Pick pumpkins from a patch guarded by a scarecrow, roll tortillas by hand and make ristras by stringing red chiles together. You can even taste syrup produced by a burro-powered sorghum mill. The festival also features traditional music and dance, an artist market with New Mexican crafts and mule-drawn wagon rides. While there, you can journey into the past with costumed docents and historic buildings representing Spanish Colonial and Territorial periods in 18th and 19th-century New Mexico.
Interactive Chef's Garden Table
Step into the bustling kitchen at the acclaimed restaurant Terra at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, don your apron and get ready to prepare your own multi-course dinner, with the help of renowned Executive Chef Kai Autenrieth, who has cooked his way across the globe. He will guide you in creating sublime dishes, often with ingredients freshly plucked from the restaurant's vegetable and herb garden. This is a chance to learn from a master chef, and enjoy memorable dishes fusing global influences with the flavors of northern New Mexico.
Enjoy an EQUUS Experience
If you're ready for a powerful transformation, sign up for Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado's EQUUS Experience. This custom-designed partnership with a horse will lead you to a lasting change, as you'll connect with the horse on a deeper level immersing yourself in a knowledge of clarity and intentionality. As you engage with the horse, you'll learn to focus on emotion, intuition, cooperation and inspiration. Each one-of-a-kind experience is unique, catered to the rider's needs and desires, and it will change your life in joyful and memorable ways.
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